What Does a Sports PR Manager Do?
Public Relations (PR) is all about managing the flow of information between an individual or an organization/team and its public. It’s used to shape a positive image through means other than direct marketing and, while certainly not exclusive to the sports industry, is vital to all teams and their top performing athletes. Two commonly used titles within the field are Public Relations Manager and Public Relations Specialist. Both are of the same career path; PR Specialist is an entry-level position while PR Manager is a more senior-level employee. Most professional sports organizations keep in-house Public Relations staff. Without exception, every team, major or minor, needs a PR group to publicize its positive impact on the fans and their community. The team uses press releases, media interviews, social networks, and speeches to disseminate information to an organization’s public.
At its core, public relations is a communications process. It follows that those entering the PR field need strong verbal and written communication talents and excellent interpersonal skills. PR typically falls under a team’s marketing wing, so being creative and having experience in business promotions is also a plus. Working in sports PR, most of your time will be spent crafting a team’s public image. You’ll work with the Marketing Director to understand the overall message that leadership wants to portray, and then utilize various tools and outlets to spread it to the public. You’ll make media contacts and coordinate interviews between them and key team representatives, including star players, coaches, or front office management. You’ll also contribute to the team’s social network streams including their Facebook and Twitter profiles. The Public Relations group will also write and review press releases which share both positive and negative news. Announcing a charity event can be a fun, uplifting experience, while rolling out raised ticket prices is tough. PR Managers are forward thinking workers, studying trends in the industry and looking for new methods of trumpeting the team’s successes. At times, the Public Relations department must “spin” negative news that comes out about an organization or one of its players. Events like player arrests or coach firings cast a negative light on the organization as a whole. The Public Relations team must provide enough information to abate media scrutiny without revealing the entire story.
The immediate nature of public relations can make it a high stress job with peak-and-valley hours. Public Relations Managers/Specialists can plan positive new announcements in advance but negative communications often pop up when least expected, putting PR employees on the spot to react quickly and without misstep. Working in sports PR is a constantly changing job with an evolving set of tools,but its focus on communicating information to the public and maintaining a team’s positive image will never change. Those who are looking for a hybrid communications/marketing role within the sports industry should consider a public relations job.
How to Become a Sports PR Manager
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to enter the field of public relations. Though a Public Relations degree is the most obvious one to pursue, students will learn a lot studying journalism, communications, or English. Coursework for quality education programs will include public speaking, technical writing, public affairs, marketing, and advertising, along with general business administration. These subjects prepare students on most aspects of the PR Manager/Specialist role.
A relevant internship will give you the real world knowledge to be successful in your future job hunt. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) has excellent resources on how to find a Public Relations internship, a vital step in making you a marketable job candidate. Once you’ve obtained the formal education and relevant work experience, consider earning the Certification in Education for Public Relations, also established by the PRSSA. This certification will reinforce what you’ve learned in school and reassure potential employers of your commitment to excelling in the field.
Like most other careers, continued education will get you promotions, more responsibility, and higher compensation. Almost one-fourth of PR Managers hold a master’s degree and many companies offer in-house training where entry-level PR Specialists learn management techniques and can grow into the next role. There are many routes to becoming a Public Relations Manager so evaluate your options and choose the path that works best for you.
How Much Money Do Sports PR Managers Make?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects better than average job growth for the Public Relations field. In the age of social media and fast news cycles, sports organizations put forth more effort than ever to maintain a positive image.
As previously discussed, Public Relations Specialists are entry-level PR team members while PR Managers are their more experienced supervisors. As of a couple years ago, the median annual wage for PR Specialists was $52,000 while PR Managers with a master’s degree earned an average of $90,000. Small market or minor league sports teams will start PR Specialists at a lower income while expecting them to work demanding hours. But you’ll see your status and salary rise quickly if you display strong communications skills and the willingness to work.
When you’re ready to begin the search for your sports PR manager or specialist role, visit us a JobsinSports.com! We’re adding new job listings every day so be sure to check back often.